Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2021 ~ Editors’ Awards: Abraham Kobylanski

RPGFan Games of the Year 2021 Editors Awards

There was no shortage of excellent games in 2021, and behind every great game, there’s a great cat. Thus, I present to you my coolest cats and kittens of the year. The issue with ranking them, however, is that all cats are the best, so all my selections are tied for first place. Thus, when pressed, I gave them a ranking, but they’re all still number one. 

1E. Cats of Woodsalt

Woodsalt’s cats simply appear in random locations for you to pet. Generations ago, humans migrated from Earth to the safety of their dome on Nu-Terra. So are these cats real or some kind of simulation? We may never discover the answer for sure. But if you pet enough of them, you’ll receive a special hidden ending that’s much more pleasant and fun than any of the game’s actual endings. So, if you decide to venture to Nu-Terra, make sure you pet those cats!

1D. Palicoes of Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

The anthropomorphized Palicoes have had their claws in monster hunters from the very beginning, assisting in battle in various ways. This year’s Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin are no exception. You’re free to customize their appearance and clothing (something my cats would never allow without a fight). With the shift to a more Asian motif in Rise, who wouldn’t want to dress up their cat as a ninja and such?

A screenshot of a palico in Monster Hunter Rise

1C. Michelle O’Reilly of The Good Life

In The Good Life, citizens of Rainy Woods transform into cats and dogs on nights with a full moon. Thankfully, they retain aspects of their personality in their appearance (because if cats and dogs weren’t cute enough already, dressing them with hats or glasses puts them over the top). My favorite is Michelle O’Reilly, the punk rock-ish owner of the 1977 bar sporting a colorful lock of hair that becomes her adorably distinguishing feline feature.

1B. Neko Shogun of Shin Megami Tensei V

Cats turning out to be demons surprises no one. In Shin Megami Tensei V, the Nahobino can befriend multiple cat-influenced demons, many of which are longtime staples of the series and its spinoffs. You have cat ladies (Nekomata) and the behatted Cait Sith, who would surely swash all your buckles. But the champion is Neko Shogun. Their likeness is derived from a Chinese general whose temple was misnamed because his name was similar to the Chinese word for cat. His military garb gives him a commanding look, and I would gladly give him pets if he gave the order.

1A. Proshka of Black Book

From cat demons, we now go to a demon cat. Vasilisa is a witch, and a witch needs a black cat. Proshka isn’t technically a cat; he’s actually a demon who decided to take the form of a cat and serve as susedko, a helpful house demon who wards off evil demons for Vasilisa and Old Egor. He’s an excellent companion in battle, as he grants extra defense. His past is a mystery even to him, but if you follow his character path, you discover he’s actually Voipel, an old, forgotten God of the north winds. Upon recovering this memory, Proshka’s eyes glow as he floats along with you. This astounding revelation cements Proshka as the cat of the year! Though of course, all cats are the best.

I can’t account for every cat that appeared in every RPG in 2021. They’re too sneaky. If I missed any, please feel free to share your favorite cats of the year with me, because all of them are great.

Abraham Kobylanski

Abraham Kobylanski

Abe's love for RPGs began when picked up Earthbound for the SNES in 1995, and it hasn't gone out since. He grew up with the classic 16-bit RPGs, like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasies, though he's gravitated more toward Western and Strategy RPGs lately. His passion for the genre was especially reinvigorated in the past few years with amazing games like FFVII:R, Persona 5 and Yakuza: LAD. He's always on the hunt for cool, smaller obscure games as well.